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Ex-Playboy Model Details Alleged Affair With Trump; Melania Trump Stays Silent Amid Stormy Daniels Saga; Young Activists Vow To Take Gun Control Movement To Polls; Mexican Officials: Iowa Family Died From Inhaling Toxic Gas. Aired 2-3p ET

Aired March 25, 2018 - 14:00   ET


[14:00:47] FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. Thanks so much for joining me this Sunday. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.

We begin with yet another shuffle to the president's legal team. Today Trump's attorney announcing the powerful D.C. attorney Joseph DiGenova will not join the president's team for the Russia probe. This coming just days after DiGenova and his wife, Victoria Toensing, also an attorney, met with Trump.

The president tweeting in part, "Many lawyers in top law firms want to represent me in the Russia case," and adding, quote, "I am very happy with my existing team. Besides there was no collusion with Russia except by crooked Hillary and the Dems."

Of course all this after the massive marches across the country for gun safety.


CAMERON KASKY, MARJORY STONEMAN DOUGLAS STUDENT: Americans are being attacked in churches, nightclubs, movie theaters and on the streets, but we the people can fix this.


WHITFIELD: Powerful moments as young people called on lawmakers for change from the nation's capital and beyond. The demonstrations launched by the teens who survived the Parkland school shooting in Florida.

And later today the president returns to Washington from Mar-a-Lago and tonight one of his alleged mistresses, on the left there, porn star Stormy Daniels, will speak out to CNN's Anderson Cooper about her relationship with the president airing on "60 Minutes." And the first lady there on the right will be remaining in Florida.

We have team coverage of all of this with CNN crime and justice reporter, Shimon Prokupecz, and CNN White House correspondent Boris Sanchez, who is in West Palm Beach.

All right. So, Boris, you first. You know, what are we learning about the president, making his way back to Washington, whether he'll be watching that "60 Minutes" interview, whether there'll be any comments coming from him and his team.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes. For the president, uncharacteristically silent when it comes to Stormy Daniels. This story has been out there now for several weeks. Constant leaks coming from Stormy Daniels regarding Michael Cohen, accusations that she was paid $130,000 to remain silent in October of 2016, weeks before the presidential election, to not tell her story.

She is apparently going to be speaking to Anderson Cooper tonight on "60 Minutes." We don't know the extent of what she will reveal, but that is a legal case that continues and one that the president really hasn't weighed in on himself. We did hear from Sarah Sanders, the press secretary, who denied the president had any involvement with Stormy Daniels, but it is unusual that President Trump hasn't actually directly weighed in on this.

He was asked before departing for Mar-a-Lago this weekend if he had any response to the accusations from Stormy Daniels, from Karen McDougal, that former Playboy Playmate who also alleged that she had an affair with the president. No response whatsoever on that end -- Fred.

WHITFIELD: OK. So, Boris, and while all that's happening, this, you know, shuffle of representation, legal representation, of the president. Joseph DiGenova, who is a D.C. -- a powerful attorney, also known -- you know, classified as being rather controversial because of conspiracy theories, you know, that have been attached to his name. And now he is no longer going to be on the team. This just days after the White House or the president announced they were looking forward to a kind of collaboration. What happened?

Boris, are you able to hear me? All right. It looks like I lost the audio there with -- Boris. How about you, Shimon? So we got the legal, you know, team shake-up and this, you know, with Joseph DiGenova no longer being part of the team, you know, just days after we've heard that the personal attorney for the president, John Dowd, would no longer be part of the team. So what does all of this signal?

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: Well, it is certainly signals that there is turmoil within the legal team. One of the reasons at least that John Dowd has given privately to people and in published reports was that he did not agree with the idea of bringing in a new attorney, DiGenova.

Certainly while you say he's a powerful attorney, he's an interesting guy and he has sort of a different take on some of the parts of this investigation. He has been out spoken on FOX News about it, various conspiracy theories.

[14:05:03] So there was a lot of surprise in Washington, D.C. among the legal kind of community, the lawyers here, and surprise on the White House legal team, the president's legal team, that he was bringing him in and certainly creating even more turmoil.

Look, we've done a lot of reporting. Certainly everyone has done a lot of reporting because there is a lot of interest in what's going on, sort of this palace intrigue at the White House with the lawyers in turmoil, some in disagreement. So they did not agree with the hiring of DiGenova, and just, you know, days really after meeting with the husband and wife, Victoria Toensing, who is his wife, you know, the president, as we were told really on Friday that this was likely going to happen, that he wasn't going to bring them on.

He met with them, the president met with them Thursday. Something happened in that meeting. They spent some time talking and he just did not see that they could fit in to what he wanted, a the type of attorney that he wanted.

Look, and the other issue here really, Fred, right now is the White House, the president's lawyers are in the middle of negotiating a sit- down with the Bob Mueller team. And all this could potentially delay that. It's really unclear what any of this means because any new lawyer that you would bring in has to come on board, has to read through some of the e-mails, some of the stuff that they have turned over to the special counsel.

So certainly where this could all play into is a delay in terms of perhaps the president being interviewed. But the investigation is going to move forward. The Special Counsel Bob Mueller is not moving on anyone's time schedule except his own. So we'll see what happens, we'll see if anyone else does get brought in. There are still a lot of questions about that and whether anyone else joins his legal team.

WHITFIELD: Well, yes, and, you know, Shimon, it's a perplexing explanation because from afar the president has admired DiGenova who has appeared on FOX News. And, you know, he has, you know, fairly deep legal legs in Washington as a former, you know, U.S. attorney in D.C. It goes back to the Mary and Barry, you know, years as mayor, and then suddenly this week there is no chemistry after meeting?

You know, it's hard to understand whether it was the president showing him the door or if it's DiGenova and the conflicts which, you know, were not revealed or unbeknownst to the White House. I mean, what really is the root of this?

PROKUPECZ: Well -- yes, that's right. And the conflicts, they were well aware. The conflict here is that DiGenova and his wife, they represent someone who worked for the White House. Corallo, who is a spokesperson, he has been interviewed by the special counsel. So the White House and certainly the president were very much aware of the conflict. When he met with them on Thursday, he was aware of it, everyone has done reports about it.

His own legal team, John Dowd certainly, Ty Cobb, they all have raised issues with hiring someone like DiGenova. But something did happen in that meeting, and for whatever reason, as we know with this president, something just didn't seem right to him and so he just decided that perhaps it was best not to hire them and bring them into the team.

WHITFIELD: All right. Makes it all the more interesting. Shimon Prokupecz, thank you so much for all those details.

Let's talk more about all of this with CNN political analyst Julian Zelizer and Michael Shear.

So, Michael, that is fascinating with, you know, Shimon just mentioned that they were aware of the conflicts at the beginning, then there were meetings, and then there's no chemistry. Lots of red flags, you know, to give the green light to a Joseph DiGenova to join the team only to a few days later no longer be on it.

MICHAEL SHEAR, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Right. So in some ways none of that should surprise us. Right? We've seen this with this president over and over again is that decisions get made, they get unmade, they get remade. But I think what's underlying the substantive question that's been underlying all of the turmoil in the legal staff over the last few weeks is that the president has finally decided that he wants to discard the advice that he's been taking for the last year which has been not to attack Bob Mueller directly.

That was what the legal team had insisted over months and months and months. Don't attack Mueller directly because that's just going to antagonize him. Let's just not -- you know, you can say whatever else you want, but don't attack him directly. That stuck for many, many months, and recently that has changed and the president has begun attacking Mueller in tweets and in public comments.

And so I think that has really generated a lot of the turmoil inside the legal team where his lawyers are trying to figure out how to respond. John Dowd, obviously his response was, well, I can't represent you anymore if you're not going to listen to my advice. And others are trying to figure out, well, are there other people that need to be brought in, or how can we effectively represent the president if he's not going to take our advice.

WHITFIELD: And so, Julian, you know, the president has, you know, a lot of legal representation for a lot of matters, whether it's White House matters, whether it is the Russia probe and then of course these alleged affairs. Tonight the "60 Minutes" interview, you know, with Stormy Daniels.

You wrote on that the Stormy Daniels interview should scare Republicans because, and I'm quoting now.

[14:10:04] "The anger among women in the electorate could be decisive in the midterm elections with the record-breaking number of female candidates running for office, many women are clearly determined to shake up Washington."

Do you believe that some decisions will be cemented potentially during that or after watching the interview tonight?

JULIAN ZELIZER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I don't think they'll necessarily be cemented, but I certainly think it could accelerate a lot of anger that exists in the electorate. With all the discussion of what will happen to President Trump and speculation about the investigation, one thing we know is the polls are not very good for Republicans going into the midterms, and women will play a decisive role and educated -- college-educated women in suburbs right now are overwhelmingly polling in a negative way toward the president and toward the Republicans.

So I think this interview might clearly play into some of that animosity that exists and be pivotal to the way this midterm unfolds.

WHITFIELD: And Michael, there's so much going on at one time, whether it's these legal, you know, battles, whether it's midterm elections. And then yesterday that incredibly powerful movement of young people across the country. And right there on Pennsylvania Avenue from the U.S. capitol to the White House, the president and first lady were not in Washington at this time.

The silence from the president is deafening. How potentially persuasive might that be, whether it be at the polls or, you know, his approval ratings of -- you know, of this presidency?

SHEAR: Well, I think it -- you know, I think it definitely plays into the decisions that people are going to make when they go into the voting booth. The president seemed to want to try to be on all sides of this issue. Remember a few weeks ago right after the Parkland shooting, he seemed to suggest that he wanted to embrace, really, you know, tougher gun control efforts like the ones the Democrats have been pushing for years.

Then he had an Oval Office meeting with the National Rifle Association, and then reversed himself, essentially backing down from the support for all of those gun control measures. And so in some ways it's not a surprise that he has reverted back to where the Republican Party generally is on these issues.

But to the extent that these young kids can make gun control a real powerful force in some districts -- it's probably not going to be in all districts, but if they can do it in some districts and they can play off of the president and the Republican Party's resistance to gun control, then I think that -- you know, that you could see some change.

I -- you know, I must say I'm skeptical because we've seen pledges of turning gun control into a real powerful electoral issue before, and it hasn't really worked out after the Newtown shootings and Columbine and all of the rest. But look, it might happen this time, and if so the president's silence could contribute.

WHITFIELD: And then, Julian, you know, this did not help matters today when you've got a one-time Republican presidential, you know, candidate, former Senator Rick Santorum saying this in response to the movement of these kids yesterday and really trying to redirect what their focus should be. Listen.


RICK SANTORUM, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: : How about kids instead of looking to someone else to solve their problem do something about maybe taking CPR classes or try to deal with situations that where there is violence --

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: But how are they looking in other people --

SANTORUM: -- that you have to respond to that.

KEILAR: I would ask you, they took action.

SANTORUM: Yes, they took action to ask someone to pass a law. They didn't take action to say, how do I, as an individual, deal with this problem? How am I going to do something about stopping bullying within my own community? What am I going to do to actually help respond to issue? What am I going to do? Those are the kinds of things where you can take in internally and say, here's how I'm going to deal with this, here's how I'm going to help the situation instead of going in protest and saying, someone else needs to pass a law to protect.


WHITFIELD: All right. Julian, the other panelists were aghast. I mean, you know, learning CPR, that's the solution here? What do you suppose, you know, the general consensus is on the response to what he had to say?

ZELIZER: I think most people will agree that was a jaw-dropping moment on television, to hear someone say that in the aftermath of the protests and the very emotional speeches by students who lived through a horrific event. That's unacceptable. And I think the, you know, burden on the students is between now and November of 2018 to make sure that a majority of the public in key districts agree and don't think that the status quo can continue and don't agree that those kinds of statements are really permissible as a response to gun violence.

And if they can do that, they might create a different temperament on Capitol Hill come January 2019.

[14:15:02] We don't know if they can get from where they were yesterday to there, but that's exactly the goal, and those are the kinds of statements that should certainly fuel the movement.

WHITFIELD: Under 10 seconds, Michael, your thoughts?

SHEAR: Yes. No, I agree and -- I totally agree and the sort of question of whether or not they can capitalize on what sometimes is a tone-deaf response on the part of some Republicans to the issue of gun violence is going to make the difference.

WHITFIELD: All right, Michael Shear, Julian Zelizer, thanks to both of you. Appreciate it.

ZELIZER: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: All right. Coming up next, growing concerns over President Trump's new National Security adviser. Why some say John Bolton could be a threat to the president's America first agenda?


WHITFIELD: There are new questions being raised over President Trump's new pick for National Security adviser John Bolton. Bolton who is a former U.S. State Department official and U.S. ambassador to the United Nations is also known for having strong support for military action on North Korea.

[14:20:10] This morning on CNN, Virginia senator and former vice presidential candidate, Tim Kaine, said he had serious doubts that Bolton could even get a full security clearance for the White House.


SEN. TIM KAINE (D), VIRGINIA: Reports surfaced right after he was named about a speech that he gave in Russia in 2013 at the request of a Russian oligarch who's very close to Vladimir Putin. These kinds of contacts with foreign governments especially in the words of General Dunford -- he's the head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff -- Russia is the chief nation state adversary of the United States.

These kinds of contacts raise real questions in my mind about whether he could get a full security clearance or not. We've already watched one National Security adviser, Michael Flynn, because he was lying about contacts with foreign government and had to be let go.


WHITFIELD: All right. So Kaine described it as a speech but really was an appearance, John Bolton had an appearance in this 2013 video recorded for this Russian, you know, gun rights group.

So I want to bring in David Sanger now. He is CNN political and national security analyst and national security correspondent for the "New York Times."

Good to see you.


WHITFIELD: OK. So could John Bolton become another member of the administration who might not be able to get full security clearance and would that be a reason why?

SANGER: Well, certainly there will be things that will be looked at in his -- since the time that he left government as ambassador to the U.N., and as the State Department undersecretary for Arms Control. But he did have full security clearances when he had those two posts. So the only thing that strikes me that would get in the way would be if something like the contacts that Senator Kaine was referring to came up.

I actually think that's probably going to be the least problematic part of Mr. Bolton's time at the White House. I think one of the harder issues is going to be that on some things, including Russia, he does not seem to be in sync with the president. He's actually been quite critical of the Russians and when the president met Vladimir Putin last summer, Mr. Bolton turned around and wrote that now he knows what it's like to meet and be lied to by a Russian leader.

WHITFIELD: And then you also write, you know, in "The Times" where you talk about the concerns of how John Bolton, you know, is very hawkish as it pertains to this, and I'm pulling a quote now where you say, "Not since the immediate aftermath of September 11th, 2001 have key national security leaders so publicly raised the threat of military confrontation if foreign adversaries do not meet America's demands."

So what would be the appeal then for President Trump?

SANGER: Well, President Trump may be assembling a Cabinet that -- a national security Cabinet that he thinks will give him leverage in negotiations with Iran and with North Korea. So he's got Mr. Bolton, he's got Mr. Pompeo, the CIA director, who is now moving over to secretary of State. If confirmed, both of them are big opponents of the Iran deal and if the U.S. pulls out of the Iran deal, you could imagine us getting back to where we were in 2013-2014 where there was concern about whether the U.S. or Israel would take military action.

Similarly on North Korea, you've had Mr. Bolton say the only way to go deal with the North Koreans is go in see them and tell them to turn over all their nuclear infrastructure. Well, that's not going to happen just because they go in and say it, and raises the question whether we could find ourselves rapidly in a confrontation there as well.

WHITFIELD: All right. David Sanger, thanks so much.

SANGER: Thank you, Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right. As adult film star Stormy Daniels tells all about her alleged affair with the president, how is the first lady taking all of this? New reporting on Melania Trump coming up.


[14:28:33] WHITFIELD: All right. Welcome back. Tonight in a highly anticipated television interview, adult film star Stormy Daniels is expected to provide new details about her alleged affair with President Trump and the hush money she says she received to keep it all quiet.

Today Daniels' lawyer sent out this tweet saying, quote, "Note A. Not all of our evidence will be mentioned, displayed tonight. That would be foolish. B, we're not sure what CBS will include but we know a lot from the full interview will have to be cut because of the time allowed, and C, tonight is not the end. It's the beginning."

Stormy is not the only women battling to tell all about the president. Karen McDougal also claims she had an affair with Donald Trump.

CNN's Athena Jones joins us now with more about the claims from this former Playmate -- Athena. ATHENA JONES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Fred. We learned a lot

in this truly remarkable interview with Anderson Cooper. We heard Miss McDougal talk about how frequently she met up with Trump, how -- whether they had unprotected sex, she talks about him giving her a tour around his apartment in Trump Tower. And she also had a message for Melania.


JONES (voice-over): First Lady Melania Trump tweeting this photo of a smiling first couple on the White House balcony, the same day as an explosive interview with the former Playboy model about an alleged affair with Donald Trump, a relationship the White House has denied.

KAREN MCDOUGAL, ALLEGES AFFAIR WITH DONALD TRUMP: We were together 10 months before I chose to end it. So we saw each other quite frequently.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: So dozens of times you were together --

MCDOUGAL: Many dozens of times. Yes.

COOPER: And you were intimate?


COOPER: Many dozens of times?

MCDOUGAL: Many dozens of times --

COOPER: -- and you were intimate many dozens of times.


ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Karen McDougal speaking to Anderson Cooper while the president remained so far uncharacteristically silent. No tweets and no comments about McDougal even as she shared intimate details of her relationship she says began soon after Trump's wife gave birth to their son, Baron.

COOPER: Did he ever use protection?

MCDOUGAL: No. No, we didn't.

JONES: McDougal talking the pain she felt when Trump offered her money after their first alleged sexual encounter.

COOPER: Did he actually offer you money?

MCDOUGAL: He did. I just had this look of -- I don't even know how to describe it. The look on my face must have been so sad because I had never been offered money like that before.

JONES: The former Playmate said she saw Trump numerous times, including at his Bedminster, New Jersey resort and his penthouse in Trump Tower. Overtime, McDougal developed deep feelings for Trump, feelings she says he reciprocated.

COOPER: Were you in love with him?

MCDOUGAL: I was, yes.

COOPER: And do you think he was in love you?

MCDOUGAL: He was, yes.

COOPER: Did Donald Trump ever say to you that he loved you?

MCDOUGAL: All the time. Yes.

JONES: As for proof of the relationship, she said journal entries where the initials D.T. indicate dates with Trump.

MCDOUGAL: The only thing that I have really is my journal that I keep, and like I said, I still do it to this day. It wasn't out to get anyone in trouble, but those are my notes.

JONES: A self-described diehard Republican, McDougal says her goal is not to hurt the president.

MCDOUGAL: I voted for Donald and why why would I want to damage him? That's my party, Republican Party. That's my president.

JONES: She says she eventually ended the affair because she was plagued with guilt and she has this message for Melania.

MCDOUGAL: What can you say except I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I wouldn't want it done to me. I'm sorry.


JONES: And we've been talking about the president's uncharacteristic silence on all of this. Well, the first lady, Melania Trump has also been silent. She has not responded to that McDougal interview and she also hasn't had comments about any of the other accounts women have shared about her husband, whether they were speaking about consensual relationships or accusing him of sexual misconduct -- Fred.

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Athena Jones, thanks so much. Appreciate that. Let's talk more about this with Kate Anderson Brower, CNN contributor and author of "First Women." All right. So, Kate, you know, this week has to be exceptionally difficult for the first lady. Is this her kind of coping mechanism to be quiet on it and really not be seen very much?

KATE ANDERSON BROWER, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, she's at Mar-a-Lago spending spring break with their son, Baron, and her parents as part of their family tradition, and I think, yes, she's not a public first lady in the way we've seen other first ladies like Hillary Clinton, who was directly confronted with something similar to this, where she came out and talked about the right wing conspiracy.

And Hillary Clinton was very political. Melania Trump is very private. She doesn't seem entirely comfortable in her role as first lady, and I think that she's very protective of their son, which is understandable.

WHITFIELD: Do you suppose she will try to take a page from or try to learn from other first ladies who have had to deal publicly with their husbands' infidelities, like Hillary Clinton, like Jackie Kennedy?

BROWER: Well, I mean, Jackie Kennedy, fortunately for her, it wasn't rubbed in her nose the way it is now for Melania Trump because the press agreed to protect President Kennedy at the time. There was a gentleman's agreement that they wouldn't report on it.

So, with the social media and things have changed a lot since then, and now you have Melania Trump every day seeing these headlines, it's a lot more difficult for her. I think it is a smart strategy for her to be quiet about it.

I think what Hillary Clinton did in some ways kind of backfired when she talked about it because they were blaming Republicans at the time when it was really her husband.

WHITFIELD: That comment which ended up backfiring.


WHITFIELD: So, now, that Melania Trump says it's tradition, or at least the White House says it's tradition to stay in Mar-a-Lago for spring break. At the same time, do you see this potentially because she's been in Florida a lot. We have seen an absence of she and the president together, departures, arrivals, et cetera. Do you think that's a prelude, potentially? Would she return to New York to be alone as opposed to, you know, continuing to claim the White House as residence?

[14:35:10] JONES: I wish I knew the answer to that question. I think she's so private it's tough to get a sense of what she's thinking and feeling at the moment. She was private before this, so you can only imagine how much I think they're hunkering down now, very protective of her.

She didn't want this life, this wasn't something she chose, and she wasn't elected. I think there is a sense of a real intense need to protect their 11-year-old son. It's a very difficult time to have a young kid in this White House.

WHITFIELD: All right. Katie Anderson Brower, thank you so much.

BROWER: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: All right. It's not over yet. That's the message from students and survivors who marched, demanding action on gun safety. How they are using that historic moment to hold lawmakers accountable.


[14:40:44] WHITFIELD: Student shootings survivors and activist who called for stricter gun laws during nationwide protests this weekend are making their messages clear. This is just the beginning.


NAOMI WADLER, ELEMENTARY SCHOOL STUDENT FROM VIRGINIA: People have said that I am too young to have these thoughts on my own. People have said that I am a tool of some nameless adult. It's not true.

DAVID HOGG, SCHOOL SHOOTING SURVIVOR: I say to those politicians that say change will not come, I say we will not stop until every man, every woman, every child and every American can live without fear of gun violence. And to that I say no more!

RYAN DEITSCH, SCHOOL SHOOTING SURIVVOR: We cannot make America safe again until we arm our teachers. We need to arm our teachers. We need to arm them with pencils, pens, paper and the money they need! They need to money to support their families and support themselves before they can support the futures in those classrooms, to support the future that sits down at that desk waiting to learn!

EMMA GONZALEZ, SCHOOL SHOOTING SURVIVOR: Since the time that I came out here, it has been 6 minutes and 20 seconds. The shooter has ceased shooting and will soon abandon his rifle, blend in with the students as they escape and walk free for an hour before arrest. Fight for your lives before it's someone else's job.


WHITFIELD: Who still doesn't have those faces and those words in their thoughts today. CNN's Dianne Gallagher joins us from Washington. The people who attended the march, those kids who were part of the march and people who watched it, how are folks feeling?

DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, Fredricka, you can only imagine, especially those who lived through that day. This is something they've been looking forward to, they've been planning, even distracting themselves toward trying to work towards something and create some type of change.

I actually had two juniors from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, we've been speaking with them for weeks now leading up to this march. Jack, you were in the audience, you were there cheering on your classmates. How do you feel like it went?

JACK MACLEOD, STUDENT, MARJORY STONEMAN DOUGLAS HIGH SCHOOL: I think it was absolutely incredible. There was a lot of anticipation to this moment and a lot of people think this is the peak of this movement, and I don't think so. I want the energy and the anger of the people to kind of increase exponentially for the days to come, but this is only the beginning, so I'm really excited at what it represented and what's going to come out of it.

GALLAGHER: And Kai, you said this is only the beginning. What is next? KAI KOERBER, STUDENT, MARJORY STONEMAN DOUGLAS HIGH SCHOOL: What is next is perpetration of action plans from our side of the fence. Basically, you're making sure that you include what African-Americans and people of other cultural denominations feel about certain topics so that no one is left out.

GALLAGHER: That was something I noticed. At that event you guys had people from all over the country who are expressing different types of gun violence, not just mass shootings, who were just victims of gun violence speaking at that. Is that something that is important to you guys as a student body to make sure that this is eradicated not just mass shooting wise but just altogether?

MACLEOD: Well, absolutely. You'll notice that they brought up, you know, on to the stage figures who, you know, people have been working on this for years because, you know, at least Parkland is kind of an affluent neighborhood, you don't have these sorts of things happen, but there are neighborhoods that experience gun violence on a daily basis.

You know, you hear them talking about how they're used to candlelight vigils and stuff like that. This is something that has been talked about for many years, but now people are starting to listen, and I think that, you know, this is a platform on which people could come on and speak our minds. I do think that's important, yes.

GALLAGHER: Jack Macleod and Kai Koerber, both Marjory Stoneman Douglas juniors. I think you both for being with us. Fredricka, again, this is something these students have said this is just the start of what they consider to be a movement that will change things.

WHITFIELD: Yes, those two kids with you very impressive as were so many that the world watched yesterday. Dianne Gallagher, thank you so much in the nation's capital.

[14:40:02] All right. Next, new bizarre details around an Iowa family of four found dead at a vacation condo in Mexico. A live report straight ahead.



WHITFIELD: We're now learning more about what happened to a family from Iowa found dead while vacationing in Mexico. The bodies of Kevin and Amy Marie Sharp and their two young children were found at a rental condo in a beach town. Local authorities are now saying a toxic gas is to blame.

CNN's Polo Sandoval is following the details for us. So, Polo, what are you learning?

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Fred, by all accounts and early indications seem to show this was simply a tragic accident that took place in the Mexican town of Tulum, very popular for beachgoers, particularly during spring break. This is where things seemed to have gone terribly wrong here for this family of four, Kevin and Amy Marie sharp as well as both of their children, ages 12 and 7 years old.

Their bodies discovered on Friday in an apartment that they had rented. Early indication here is that there are no signs of foul play, no signs of suicide or murder. We do know, though, that investigators have really focused on a stove in that unit itself.

Now, the company that manages this property posted a statement not too long ago, basically saying what they're doing to try to prevent this from happening. BRBO rented this property, this parent company, Hubbleway, releasing a statement saying, quote, "Our most heartfelt condolences go out to the loved ones of the Sharp family for their tragic loss. We are monitoring the devastating situation closely and have removed the property from our site for any future bookings while we wait for more details."

This family from Iowa waiting for them to return their bodies back to Iowa. Investigators have performed an exhaustive investigation. They plan to release those results of that investigation in the next few days, but Fred, at this point, it seems like this was simply a terrible accident that claimed the lives of these four people, apparently toxic gas that was inhaled was apparently the issue here.

WHITFIELD: Horribly tragic. All right. Polo Sandoval, thank you so much.

SANDOVAL: You bet.

WHITFIELD: We'll be right back with much more straight ahead.



WHITFIELD: Before the final four tips off in San Antonio, a group of cancer survivors will be playing a basketball game on the same court and will be united by their powerful and inspiring stories. Here's Coy Wire.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Fred, basketball has always been a part of the life of our Infiniti Hardwood hero, Krystal Lucero. Her love of the game would introduce her to the love of her life, her husband, Robert. When Krystal was diagnosed with breast cancer, she saw her entire family and community rally around her and help keep her passion for the sport she loves alive.


KRYSTAL LUCERO, INFINITI HARDWOOD HERO: An attempt to get fouled a lot so I can make some free throws. I started playing basketball when I was in first grade and I continued through elementary and junior high, played high school basketball. I got involved in officiating when I was in college.

That's where I met my husband, so I had to retire from being an official. My husband's team will be playing in the state championship at the same location that we are actually having the Hardwood heroes. It's pretty awesome because they'll all be there to support. I was diagnosed with cancer in 2010. It was a typical breast cancer, but the good thing is that I was 27 when I was diagnosed. It was really hard to see my family. They have no control of it, so I think it was harder to see them because I knew I could only control what I could control.

My mom probably cried more in doctors' appointments than I did. What I want to come from being part of Hardwood heroes is just getting the word out and letting people know you can still be an athlete and be a cancer survivor, still love a sport and be part of it. My name is Krystal Lucero and I'm a Hardwood hero.


WIRE: The Hardwood hero's game at the final four will help raise money for cancer research. They team up with coaches versus cancer. Fred, it's not what we go through in life, it's how we go through it, and Krystal and others surviving and thriving through cancer remind us of that in a way many others never could.

WHITFIELD: Their journey not always the destination. Coy Wire, thank you so much for that report.

We have so much more straight ahead in the NEWSROOM and it all starts right now.

All right. Hello again, everyone. Thanks so much for being with me this Sunday. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.